The introduction of a new generation Mondeo has been delayed as production, under the Ford re-organisation programme to reduce financial losses, has been moved from Genk in Belgium to Valencia in Spain. While Genk closes, Valencia booms as the plant that builds the Kuga SUV, S-Max and Galaxy models MPV and eventually the new Mondeo.
To keep the current Mondeo fresh against newer opposition, not least a revitalised Vauxhall Insignia this autumn, Ford is introducing new Graphite and Titanium X Business Edition trim lines.
Graphite is aimed at retail buyers and is available as a saloon and estate with a choice of four engines from £15,995. The Titanium X Business Edition, as the name suggests, targets fleet users and is a high-end, high-spec line priced from £21,995. There are also two body styles and four engine options with this model, which is £1,500 cheaper than the outgoing Titanium X.
Buyers who opt for either of the two 2.0-litre diesel engines will also save on running costs. Engine and aerodynamic changes have reduced CO2 emissions by up to 10g/km, which will lower BIK tax rates and slash £75 of the annual VED licence. Fuel consumption also improves – by almost 4mpg in some versions.
The Mondeo first appeared in 1993 as a front wheel drive replacement for the rear wheel drive Sierra, but its biggest influence was that it marked a change in attitudes at Ford, which had previously focused on marketing mediocre cars rather than engineering good ones.
In its time it was used as an example of aspirational middle-class Britain by Tony Blair in his “Mondeo Man” speech in the build-up to the 1997 General Election. It was also Daniel Craig’s car in his first appearance as James Bond in Casino Royale, which led to him being christened “Bondeo Man”.
Ford has sold almost 1.4 million Mondeos in Britain alone. The peak was more than 127,000 in its first full year – 1994. But with the fragmentation of the market caused by the proliferation of MPVs, SUVs, crossovers and downsizing – not to mention increased sales of so-called premium models like the BMW 3 Series – the UK appetite for Mondeos has shrunk to less than 22,000 last year but with a brighter forecast of 25,000 for this year.